Yokote Masuda Manga Museum
Manga enthusiasts, this should be on your bucket list!
Famous for rice planting, savory apples, and Akita dogs, who would have thought that Akita Prefecture is also the home of the first manga (comic book) themed museum in Japan?
Yokote Masuda Manga Museum (also commonly known as just Yokote Manga Museum) was established to showcase the artwork of different manga artists in Japan and overseas, and of course, to pay honor to the works of Akita-native Takao Yaguchi, who is most well-known for “Tsurikichi Sanpei” (Fishing Enthusiast Sanpei).
This corky comic book might not be as popular as Anpanman (1973) or Doraemon (1969), but during its release (1973), Tsurikichi Sanpei was very much well liked. It was even adapted to an anime series in the 80’s, which consists of 109 episodes and a live-action movie in 2009. Because of Yaguchi’s artistry, his hometown, Yokote City, was put into spotlight and gave Akita another reason to attract visitors.
Aside from Tsurikichi Sanpei’s creator, around 300 original illustrations from 100 comic book artists are included at the museum’s permanent exhibitions.
Tomoko Ninomiya (Nodame Cantabile), Shigeru Mizuki (GeGeGe no Kitaro), George Morikawa (Hajime no Ippo), Monkey Punch (Lupin III), CLAMP (Chobits and Card Captor Sakura), and etc., are just some of the works visitors can check out.
Their perfect drawings are displayed in the museum. However, if you thoroughly examine those images, you’ll be surprised to see the patches of white-out that make them look seamless. Even veteran artists can make mistakes. Since this place is low-key, you can take your time looking for flaws and fine points.
Upon entering Yokote Masuda, a recreated studio of Yaguchi is on display to show how and where he drew his masterpieces. Guests can also enjoy reading varieties of comic books in the museum for free, while relaxing under the huge tree at the center of the first Manga Exhibition Room. A spiral staircase, decorated with drawings featured in the permanent exhibition, will then lead you to the second floor for more good reads.
Works of the respected Takao Yaguchi and the legendary Osamu Tezuka can be found there. Yokote Masuda is a must visit for would-be comic book artists, and to anyone who just can’t resists the wonderful world of manga.